First IATNL North Arm Traverse
On August 27-28, IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol and IAT Hiker Sean LeMoine hiked across the North Arm Hills, from Stowbridge Head in the Bay of Islands to Trout River Pond in Gros Morne National Park. The goal was to identify a route for the new IATNL North Arm Traverse. The two-day trek requires a 45 minute boat ride on each end, provided by True North Charters out of Cox's Cove in the south, and Ocean Quest Adventures out of Trout River in the north.
After being dropped off at the base of the 2,300ft (700m) North Arm Hills by True North's Tony Oxford
the duo headed northeast, and ascended the rust-colored peridotite mountain of ultramafic mantle to 2100ft
before turning north and heading around the two upper branches of Stowbridge Brook
on the way to Liverpool Gorge.
The contrasting gray and green gorge contains a series of waterfalls coming and going at various angles, both on Liverpool Brook and adjoining tributaries.
Below most are deep refreshing pools, ideal for swimming or wading through the warm summer days.
From Liverpool Gorge, the Traverse winds along above the right (east) bank of the river, crossing small streams that provide ample drinking water
before reaching two sizable ponds in the upper watershed, where the duo camped for the night.
Day Two began with overcast but dry skies, and an early morning stroll on a rare mountaintop sandy beach.
Before long the trek reaches Sandy Pond in Gros Morne National Park
which flows into Overfalls Pond above Overfalls waterfall.
Once at the top of the Overfalls Trail, Paul and Sean detoured off the North Arm Traverse and headed west to the Rubbles Gorge above Trout River Pond, looking for a new day-hike addition to the OT. Unfortunately after scrambling halfway down the rocky gorge under wet skies over wetter rocks, they encountered an impassable waterfalls which required them to scale a gravel and rock scree field, then descend through thick brush and another gravel field, to make it to the bottom of the alluvial Rubbles fan and the Ocean Quest zodiac shuttle back to the community of Trout River.
(L-R) Ocean Quest's Ryan Young, Meredith Vardy, and Derrick Crocker
The new IATNL North Arm Traverse is a 2-day, 30km (18 mile) trek that begins and ends at sea level, and reaches a height of 2100ft (640m) vertical. Along the way hikers may see an array of wildlife, from moose and caribou to black bears and arctic hare. Paul and Sean were fortunate enough to see 7 moose, 6 bears and 3 caribou ... but unfortunate enough to get soaked to the bone in the bargain!
(L - R) Paul and Sean